'Break-Up Man' Set to Topple 'The Hobbit' in Germany

Scott Roxborough
The Hollywood Reporter

COLOGNE, Germany – The Break-Up Man, a romantic comedy written, directed and starring Matthias Schweighofer is on track to knock The Hobbit off its perch at the top of Germany's box office charts.

Based on the film's strong start Thursday night, Break-Up Man, released by 20th Century Fox, should take the number one slot on the charts this weekend with around 350,000 admissions. That would be enough to beat out The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, which has ruled the roost at the German box office for the past month and has grossed around $75 million here for Warner Bros. The Hobbit is forecast to sell around 200,000 tickets in its fifth weekend, a showing that should secure a strong second place finish for Peter Jackson's fantasy epic.

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“All the numbers we're seeing, all the indications show that Break-Up Man will be another big hit for Schweighofer,” Vincent de La Tour, managing director for Fox in Germany, told THR.

Break-Up Man is the second film actor Schweighofer has written and directed – following his 2011 hit What a Man, which grossed $16 million here for Fox. The 31-year-old actor/director is much in demand. Schweighofer's Pantaleon production shingle recently signed a four-picture deal with Warner Bros. Germany. Schweighofer will direct and star in all four films for WB.

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Overall, it looks like German films are set for a comeback this weekend. In addition to Break-Up Man, Margarethe von Trotta's biopic Hannah Arendt, starring Barbara Sukowa and the 3-D children's film Ritter Rost are expected to make the top ten.

The German film industry is coming off a tough year. While overall box office for 2012 hit a new record, cracking the €1 billion ($1.3 billion) mark for the first time ever, revenue for German-language films fell more than 20 percent with local titles accounting for just 13.7 percent of total box office, down from 18.9 percent a year earlier.